Fed-up Whittlesea residents are calling for the council to be replaced by administrators, while mayor Lawrie Cox has warned his colleagues to show up at meetings or resign.

Cr Cox issued the warning after the February 5 meeting had to be adjourned because the council was unable to maintain a quorum.

It is the third consecutive meeting in which the council has run into quorum difficulties.

Councillors were unable to make a decision on the Mernda Town Centre at meetings on December 11 and 21 as only six councillors were present, and one of them – Cr Sam Alessi – had a conflict of interest in the issue.

A planning application for the town centre was deferred to last Tuesday’s council meeting, but once again it couldn’t be dealt with. It will now be heard tonight, February 12.

Last Tuesday’s meeting had a delayed start, with only Cr Cox and four other councillors – Kris Pavlidis, Emilia Lisa Sterjova, Stevan Kozmevski and Alessi – in attendance at 6.30pm.

Councillors Caz Monteleone, Alahna Desiato and Mary Lalios entered the council chamber at 6.57pm.

The meeting was then closed to the public to deal with confidential business. When it was reopened, Crs Lalios, Monteleone and Desiato had left the chamber, leaving the council without a quorum.

Cr Tom Joseph was absent due to overseas work commitments. Crs Ricky Kirkham and Norm Kelly were also absent.


Mayor Lawrie Cox.

Cr Cox called for the missing councillors to “reflect on their position”.

“Quite frankly, if they have lost interest or they don’t want to turn up, then they should make way for someone who is actually prepared to be here,” he said.

Doreen resident Denise Ferguson, who was at the meeting, said it was time administrators took over the council.

“When my children were little they used to spit the dummy – that’s what these people are doing,” she said. “It has got to stop and if it doesn’t, then we need administrators.”

A Facebook page calling for the councillors to be replaced was created last week.

Cr Monteleone said he and Cr Desiato left the meeting as a show of support for Cr Lalios.

“Our colleague is being put under enormous pressure that has caused her an enormous amount of grief,” he said.